I am sure many of you are aware of the immense damage being done to wolf populations – and, therefore, of course, to individual flesh-and-blood wolves – in the Northern Rockies, particularly in the states of Idaho and Montana. This follows Obama administration’s delisting of wolves – that is, their removal from the endangered species list. The state governments of Montana, and especially Idaho, have taken this opportunity to declare open season on wolves, and the reintroduction of the sort of practices that blemished the environmental record of the US in the previous century. For more details, see, for example:
What to do? Well, of course, I signed the usual petitions, and sent off the usual letters to elected officials. But that, I suspect, is futile. My potato dollar, of course, no longer goes anywhere near Idaho – and when you have two half-Irish sons, the potato dollar is not as trifling as it might seem. But, in the end, none of this is going to do any good.
Therefore, I was intrigued to receive an email yesterday, from a man named David Forjan, which I have reproduced below. I have no further details (and, of course, am not in a position to confirm the veracity of the claims made in this email), but I await them with interest (and perhaps even a little nascent hope - even though I once described hope as 'the used-car salesman of human existence'). Needless to say, if there are any further developments, I shall relay them to you. Here is the email:
I trust I can call you Mark. I appreciate and enjoy all your writing on behalf of animals, especially wolves. Brenin gives me strength also, and keeps me relentless.
I'm writing to ask you to help spread the word, when time comes, about a campaign to ask animal lovers to speak up on behalf of wolves.
Please give me a few minutes to explain this campaign planned for the wolves, how it came about, and who is involved as of this writing. I'll be calling many more organizations and people to enlist their participation. I'm greasing the skids for this campaign.
The genesis of this campaign came from a number of conversations that transpired recently, with various animal advocates/directors of various animal welfare/rights organizations. Suzanne Stone and Jamie Rappaport Clark of Defenders of Wildlife. Michael Robinson and Kieran Suckling of The Center for Biological Diversity. Wendy Keefover and John Horning of Wild Earth Guardians. Derek Goldman and Leda Huta of The Endangered Species Coalition. Spencer Lennard of Big Wildlife. Maggie Howell of the Wolf Conversation Center. Also from previous email conversations between myself and Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States.
These conversations centered around the slaughter of wolves in western states in the Northern Rockies. Truly a slaughter. Practically with a vengeance.
From these conversations came that almost magical creativity that results from group dynamics and interaction of give and take and open-ended discussion. Allow me to explain that idea.
First, it became clear that today we face the strongest headwinds in decades that hinder animal protections. Maybe longer.
Legal actions are increasingly difficult. Especially given the judicial appointments that occurred during the President Bush administration.
Political actions are also stacked against us on this side of this issue, more than ever, by far. A Rider, practically an asterisk, on an appropriations bill, to end species protection for wolves. An end-around run, completely around the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of the Interior. A power grab with huge ramifications. A successful power grab.
Economic actions/solutions are more elusive than ever. Largely due to the Great Recession that threatens funding and donations for all social programs and organizations, especially animal rights/welfare efforts.
Second, it was clear that these obstacles affect ALL animal welfare/rights efforts. Not just wild animals. Domestic animals. Laboratory animals. In other words, we on this side of the issue are all affected.
Third, it was clear that all too many times, we on this side of the issue, are increasingly on the defensive. Reacting. With shorter time periods to react. We are blind-sided all too often. We don't take the offensive much at all. And we should.
And finally, one little statistic, one seemingly inconsequential data element, one poll number, was the spark of the creativity.
A statistic from Idaho, where the slaughter of wolves is most extreme. With most extreme hatred of wolves. Most extreme brutality against wolves. That statistic is this: In a poll of Idahoans, when asked about reducing the wolf population, 60% were in favor of leaving the wolves be. Leaving them alone. In favor of leaving the population as it was before protections were removed. 60% in favor of the wolves.
And suddenly, it was clear that the approach, the solution animals require is... Democracy. And we thought to ourselves, how many animal lovers are there in this country? A huge number. How many people have dogs or cats or horses or birds, and on and on. And love them. Personally, I'll bet all I own there are 100 million animal lovers in this country.
And so the campaign is this. To get all animal lovers in this country to raise their voices at one time, in favor of the wolf in this campaign. To get 100 million citizens, animal lovers, VOTERS, to raise their voices. At the same time. This summer. A show of force , if you will. To show our elected officials how many constituents are animal lovers. Us constituents that voted them into office. To show our elected officials, to whom "votes" is their number one priority, that us animal lovers outnumber everyone else. And we speak for the wolf in particular right now.
Or we'll vote elsewhere.
To force Director Ashe and/or Secretary Salazar and/or President Obama to re-list the wolves as endangered, before the August 31 hunting seasons begin again. To stop hundreds more wolves from being slaughtered by cruel animal haters. To re-list the wolf as endangered, this time because of the vengeance and slaughter perpetrated by Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, etc. At least we all can agree that they violated their commitment to manage the wolf populations. They blatantly ignore that obligation. Because it's not management, it's a cruel, violent slaughter.
Here's where things stand right now. I've gotten conditional commitments to join the campaign from the following organizations so far. Conditional because any final commitment will obviously depend on the final action/wording/campaign details. Understandable.
John Horning of Wild Earth Guardians
Kieran Suckling of Center for Biological Diversity
Jamie Rappaport Clark of Defenders of Wildlife
Edwin Sayres, via Laurie Beacham of The ASPCA
And Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition would gladly include the other 400 member organizations of the ESC as recipients of a request to take action by all their members.
Maggie Howell and the Wolf Conservation Center will add their voices, and howls from their wolves.
George Wuerthner, writer, wolf advocate
I'm presently trying to contact Ashley Judd, Board member of Defenders of Wildlife, to ask her to help generate publicity. And given the HSUS participation in a failed lawsuit to negate that sleazy rider delisting, I fully expect Wayne Pacelle to join. He's been receptive in the past.
There are two old sayings that guide us now. "That which does not divide us, unites us." and "In unity and in numbers, there is strength."
The specific action that we'll ask be taken is still undecided. I should also say at this time that I do not officially represent any of the organizations I've mentioned. And that officially, any opinions of mine, may not be indicative of the opinions of the organizations I've mentioned. In short, I don't speak for them. Except to the extent that they've agreed to the request to participate.
Would you consider helping spread the word when time comes?
Thanks for listening.
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